Let Freedom Ring
There is troubling violence in Nicaragua now. Since the election of Daniel Ortega to the office of president, democracy has slowly disappeared, and freedoms are curtailed. All the democratic institutions put in place when the war ended in 1990 with the free presidential election of Violeta Chamorro, have been compromised by the Ortega government. He and his vice president / wife Rosarillo Murillo now hold all the power in the government, and have become the richest people in the country (just like the Somoza family which Ortega and his boys overthrew in 1979). The Sandinista party has become the only party, and if you want a job and all the economic benefits, you’d better be a member, and have the “M” on your identity card.
In recent years, any protests to government policies have been met with gangs of thugs who break up the protests. Last month, the government announced that the social security retirement system was decreasing pensions to the retired and increasing payments by the workers. That brought many old folks out to protest, and some university students were out with
them. This protest was met with violence on the part of the Sandinista militia, and people were killed. Then on April 23rd, people filled the road to Mayasa for four miles– thousands protesting against the Ortega violence. The thugs followed the peaceful protesters into the stadium, and began beating and shooting. More deaths. Now this has escalated into a nationwide protest, complete with road blocks, strikes, and over 300 deaths. Talks brokered by the Catholic Church have broken down due to bad faith on the part of the government. It is the 1980s all over again.
Our missionaries Tom & Nutie Keogh had to leave early on a planned family reunion because of homes being burned and people killed on the streets. They are working with us here at the Rio Coco Café ministry as we wait to see a resolution to this conflict. Out school project is very isolated from this conflict, but deaths have occurred in Puerto Cabezas, where we go each month for banking, fuel, and supplies.
Today as I was preparing for our trip to Utila on Monday, I hung an American flag on a pole in my front yard. As soon as I put the pole in place, a gust of wind came and the flag became alive. Nice!
For the past 14 years, we have been in Honduras or Nicaragua for most of the summer. I can’t remember the last Fourth of July that I celebrated here in my home country. Yet as I see the unfolding chaos in my adopted lands, I value that celebration more and more, and especially what it stands for. Lest we forget, thousands came to this land in the 1600 and 1700’s from mostly Europe because of religious and political oppression. They came for freedom. Freedom from harsh economic systems, freedom from state churches that imposed restrictions on how one would worship their God. In these days wrong theology often resulted in prison, death by hanging, or burning at the stake.
Freedom is a precious thing. Our founders came up with a very unique system of government that allows everyone to the right to their own opinion, the voice to express it, and a community in which to live it.
We welcomed diversity of opinions and came up with a new governmental structure to promote unity of life with liberty of thought. Much of what motivated our founders in 1787 was found in the Bible. God’s value for all human life, His decrees to care for one another, His cries for justice for all, and His compassion for those who need help were all incorporated within the seven Articles and 10 Amendments (The Bill of Rights) of this new, unique, never-been-seen before structure of government, which took into consideration the basic evilness of mankind and therefore the division of power into three sovereign branches of government: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
For 231 years, this document has provided the most favorable environment for human beings to live, work, think, and enjoy. Why do we have an immigration problem? Because everyone wants to come to America and enjoy our freedoms!
Yet now there is a move by some to deny our Constitutional freedoms, and tear down the structure of the Constitution. We have to be careful what we say, and are even being told what we can think.
For me, what I should think comes from two sources: God through His written Word, and my wife Laura, possibly the wisest person in the planet. When others reject what God says, and begin to do what they like and think what they like, well, that is what America is all about. However when they begin to tell me that I cannot accept God’s Words or apply them to my business, my politics, and my familiar relationships, that is were I have to say;
“Let Freedom Ring!”
Go to Nicaragua. Go to the Iran. Go to Canada. Try speaking your mind in any of those places. Try echoing God’s stated opinions on life found in the Bible. You will get in trouble. You may get thrown in jail, or even be killed.
What we have in our country is a God derived, God provided freedom to be the women and men that He wants us to be. Be care of those who would curtail that historical freedom. Indeed,
“Let Freedom Ring!” Michael
Relationship…takes time, effort, sacrifice, and very decisive intentional hard work.
I have heard people say to me, “I miss seeing you…Let’s get together…stop by …let’s….” Over the years, I take all that is said to me with a grain of salt ….with the side note of not holding my breath for anything to actually happen with those words.
I have observed my girls (Arielle and Moselle who still live under our roof) make decisions and commitment toward the developing of relationships and making life happen on their own volition. It is a beautiful thing when you see your kids making hard choices to do the right thing….like their inspirational efforts to care for their physical fitness and spiritual disciplines in their personal lives which spill over into all the other areas of their existence…work, school, play etc. They are women who make a commitment and do not turn back upon it if they can help it. I respect that…women who are learning to do the right thing for the right reason and more importantly people that are trying hard to be the right person in who they are, consistently trying to match up their words with their actions.
I have observed them living out their words and follow through despite the cost to themselves. This pleases me as a parent. I have a small posse that I can depend on… those who say, do and reveal their hearts by their commitment they have to me in a variety of ways.
Lukas and I were talking about the importance of having a close community of people who surround us and perhaps enhance and encourage Life, Truth and higher Ways. We all get stuck in a variety of holes in the road. It is why I love surrounding myself with positive, inspirational people who are at least trying to stay above all of the circumstances and trials of life. We help to lift one another up. My kids bring me cheer and a deep sense of gratitude just to have the privilege of knowing them. Then the thoughts of blessing that come with the fact that I get to work with them (and even work out with them in this time; where Mikaela is a Coach) …its kind of the extended Home school Adult Program we run through this period of life where we get to learn from our Kids. We get to be in a lot of it together…working through the issues side by side. Each one bringing their gifts to the table and utilizing them in our midst. That is the good part and I am grateful.
At the same time, we all also bring a bunch of bad habits and issues that grate and smooth out the rough edges that we all possess. It really is unenjoyable and hilarious how difficult it is just to have a sane meeting amongst us if your last name is Bagby. Each person in our family having a bunch to say and very little listening skills to take the time to hear anything out.
Interruption is inevitable and frustrating. All of us feel like we have the best opinion and perhaps most of us thriving on Confrontation to prove how right we are. Arielle and Randy (Michael’s brother) are the most reasonable loving type factors of the Bagby Bunch….and bring a more love, compassion and understanding.
Despite the blatant flaws we possess being human, there has been much accomplished as we take a look around and within…all by the grace of God and a general hard headedness & undergirding commitment that has worked in many cases for good. We are blessed and I try daily to count each blessing moment by moment. It is with great ease that I get lost sometimes in a sea of unrest, stress, confusion, sadness & heart ache and have to fight to Focus and find that Peace that only comes from One True Source and trusting in His Great Perfection, Wonder and ways. I am thankful to have such a Relationship to run to in this Amazing, but at times arduous tough race of Life. I need God and am ever seeking His glorious face of comfort, security, peace and Love. I am safe in such Loving gentle arms. Laura
How Can You Help This Month?
1) Pray for us!
2) Support one of our teachers.
3) Support one of our missionaries;
4) Help us buy school supplies.
You may donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
Please pray that God will:
1) Protect us as we work in Utila this month.
2) Provide us with workers for the Utila Café this summer for the fall season. We are in need of team members.
3) Protect our team in Nicaragua during this political unrest.
We appreciate your prayers.